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Judge Allyson K. Duncan

Dec 28, 2016

Court Upholds SEC Administrative Enforcement

A district court did not err in dismiss­ing on jurisdictional grounds plaintiff financial services firm’s challenge to the constitutionality of an administrative enforcement proceeding the Securities and Exchange Commission brought against her; the 4th Circuit joins the 2nd, 7th, 11th and D.C. Circuits that have addressed this issue, and upholds the administrative enforcement provi­sion. Antif[...]

Nov 7, 2016

Sanction of Excluded Grand Jury Testimony Was Error

The 4th Circuit says a trial judge abused his discretion in excluding at de­fendants’ trial immigration violations in the operation of their Peruvian restau­rant in Virginia, testimony from a friend and a sheriff, who appeared before the grand jury after defendants’ indictments; the trial judge’s references to the scope of questions posed by prosecutors to […]

Jul 18, 2016

CWA Permit Challenged on Public-Health Studies

The 4th Circuit upholds a district court decision that defendant Army Corps of Engineers properly determined that the connection between surface coal mining and public health was not within the scope of the Corps’ environmental review; this challenge by plaintiff environmen­tal groups to issuance of a Clean Water Act permit to discharge fill materials is […]

Jul 18, 2016

Deputy Clerk Wins Trial of Political Discharge Claim

The 4th Circuit overturns summary judgment for a local court clerk who fired a deputy clerk who, while campaigning against him, made comments about funds to pay for a coworker who “should not be working” in the clerk’s office because “the county council” did not want her there and the coworker already was “drawing her […]

Jun 6, 2016

Warrant Application Omitted Informant Theft

Because a search warrant application failed to disclose that the confidential in­formant – who was the primary source of the information used to establish proba­ble cause – had just been arrested for his theft of money police provided for a drug buy, the 4th Circuit reverses denial of defendant’s motion to suppress, vacates his firearm […]

May 30, 2016

No Claim for Denial of Student- Teaching Credit

A lawyer who left her master’s program for a West Virginia teacher’s license because of a dispute with her student-teacher supervisor and an alleged lack of support from the uni­versity plaintiff that attributed to her being gay, cannot sue the university for denying her a degree for failure to complete the stu­dent-teaching portion of the […]

Feb 16, 2016

Oil & Gas Lease Not Divisible

An oil and gas lease that gave the lessee certain rights to engage in alternative activities, including exploration or production of gas or oil; or storage of gas or protection of gas storage, on a 180-acre tract in West Virginia, was not divisible, and the 4th Circuit reverses a district court decision that granted plaintiff […]

Jan 12, 2016

Maryland Conspiracy Was ‘Aggravated Felony’

Although a Haitian citizen had twice been granted Temporary Protected Status after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, he cannot overturn a final removal order from the Department of Homeland Security; the 4th Circuit upholds a determination that his 1996 conspiracy conviction was an “aggravated felony” and denies his petition for review. In his petition for […]

Jan 7, 2016

Localities Lose Challenge to FCC Wireless Order

The 4th Circuit rejects petitions for review filed by local governments challenging a Federal Communications Commission order implementing provisions of the Spectrum Act the localities claim violate the 10th Amendment by requiring localities to grant wireless providers’ applications for certain modifications of wireless towers and base stations. In 2012, Congress passed the Spectrum Act as [&hel[...]

Dec 3, 2015

Alien Removable for ‘Domestic Violence’ Crime

The 4th Circuit upholds a Board of Immigration Appeals decision that substantial record evidence indicated petitioner committed a “crime of domestic violence” under federal immigration laws, and he therefore is statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The question presented here is a purely legal one: whether a conviction under […]

Dec 3, 2015

Carrier Must Pay Verizon on Contract

Interpreting interconnection agreements between appellant CoreTel Virginia LLC and Verizon in accordance with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the 4th Circuit upholds a district court decision that CoreTel owes Verizon $227,974 for use of Verizon’s telecommunications facilities and $138,724 in late-payment fees. Using procedures set out in section 252 of the Act, carriers negotiate private [&[...]

Jul 14, 2015

High-Rise Building Copyright Claim Fails

In this suit alleging the design of a high-rise apartment building in McLean, Va., infringes on plaintiff architectural firm’s copyright for a condominium building in Minneapolis, the 4th Circuit upholds summary judgment for defendant design firm. Plaintiff Humphreys & Partners Architects LP (HPA) sued Lessard Design Inc. and multiple co-defendants, claiming that the design, development, [&h[...]

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